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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

30: When I started not to give a shit about a lot of things that weren't worth giving a shit about.

A dear friend recently turned 30 and it's actually made me think about about my year of 30.  I do have to say it's been pretty incredible.  I'm nearing the end of the first year and thinking its been one of the better years of my life, on probably every level.  I'm starting to believe the people who said life really begins at 30. 

I was thinking about what made it so great.  And here's where I came to: the day after my 30th birthday, I started not to give a shit about a lot of things that weren't worth giving a shit about. There was a light switch and I flipped it. In the same essence, I committed to leading a more honest, bold, and genuine life.  I wanted to look back on my life and be proud of the life I lived. I'm still thinking about what that might look like but in the meantime, in order to do that I decided to stop doing the things I didn't want to do, I stopped pretending to be something I wasn't and I started telling people how I felt and what I thought. I started standing up for myself and others.  If I was hurt, I shared why with the person that I was hurt by. If someone expressed goodness or picked me up, I expressed gratitude instead of guilt of being the recipient of someone's kindness.  In both good and bad ways I expressed myself more.  And really, I thought, that if I could do that with people, it would invite people to do it with me. That's ultimately what I wanted.  

I was no pro at this when I first started.  I haphazardly made my way through this more authentic me but not without serious bumps and bruises along the way.  Also a good reminder that I bruise easily so it didn't take much to screw up. But I learned....and fast. I had a very difficult conversation with my mother about our relationship.  Things have been improving.  I had a very honest conversation with the former BFF telling her that I perceived our friendship as her using me and in much kinder terms, she was being a shitty friend.  This didn't go over well and she decided to discontinue our friendship. win some you don't win some.  I've had very honest conversations with coworkers which is a treacherous line to walk but has turn out alright so far.  When I met someone that I thought we had a chance at something real, I shared my concerns/worries and was met with encouragement, kindness and acceptance.  That didn't last but I finally experienced dating someone that allowed me the space to own how I was feeling and be authentic about those feelings.  I mean, I haven't told any of the dreamboats I've been crushing on that I find them distractingly attractive and disarmingly charming....but, we're talking baby steps here.  

Each opportunity that has gotten easier as I can see the positive rewards manifesting. As situations arise I do gut checks and ask myself about am I living the most honest and genuine life I can. I do heart checks and ask myself if I'm surrounding myself with people who love me, positively challenge me, and want me to succeed? Am I hard-hearted, unforgiving or closed off? And if so what do I need to adjust this condition of my heart.  Am I supporting those who I love succeed and be the best them they can be?

But what didn't expect to do in this new mantra was to meet face to face the scenario I'd needed most desperately to be honest about, but feared the most. I was presented the opportunity to tell the person I loved that I was in love with him and had been for 10 years.  

I've know this person since my sophomore year of college. We met when we moved in across the hall from each other.  I won't get into the very long history here, but we became fast friends and since having been through a lot over the decade of our 20s and 10 years later, almost to the day, after a particularly not great situation where my heart had been hurt, I actively disconnect my life from his.  Deleted phone number, text message history, unfriend, block, unfollow, the only thing I didn't delete was the email.  It had been 8 months since we'd disconnected. That time frame spanned over the holidays, travels, new jobs, life milestones and every day tidbits. We went from chatting every day to zero in an instant.

But like any percolating, just-below-the-surface issues, it takes only a minor move to bring everything to the top.  It all came to recently.  So in this effort to lead a more genuine and authentic life, I told him the truth about how I felt. And I was petrified, but I knew no matter what came of it I was at least exercising my new outlook on life and trying to change the closed condition of my heart.

In a lengthy conversation I found myself being the most honest I'd ever been with him. I told him things I'd never told anyone, let alone him. I was so brutally honest that it hurt. And it hurt to hear some things in return. It was maybe one of the hardest types of conversations because doing gut check during a difficult conversation is a challenging feeling(s) to manage.  This conversation was breaking a bad habit, with the worst culprit while exercising my new mantra, presenting itself at the same time.  Oy vey,what a trifecta.

However, unlike my previous tough-talks, this conversation ended with no resolution or clear next steps.  This is even more unfamiliar territory. Our friendship cannot go back to how it was. Ever, and nor should it.  So this is new territory in a new-ish land to navigate.  That's been interesting. (In the way people use the word "interesting" as a substitute for a word with actual meaning but can't think of.)

One thing I do know for sure, I have not regrets about telling someone they are loved. I have no regrets about being painfully honest and wrestling with the ickyness that comes from the fallout. I don't want to be in the position to wake up one day and think, I wish I would have told someone how much he/she was loved.  I am slowly realizing life is too short to keep that tucked away.  

So I invite you to "not to give a shit about a lot of things that weren't worth giving a shit about."  Whatever and however you decide.  Let me know how it turns out. Don't wait until you're 30...or older.


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